For the first time, the Olympics is officially adding Skateboarding, Surfing and Sport Climbing to the upcoming Summer Games.
Skateboard legend Tony Hawk and sports commentator Sal Masekela [massa-KEH-lah] helped celebrate the new additions -- and what it took to get them to the Tokyo Games -- with a documentary called World Debut now out on the Olympics' YouTube channel.
Hawk tells ABC Audio that the film traces the origins of the three sports, and the hurdles they faced en route to being included in the Tokyo Olympics. "[T]here was a lot of heartbreak in that," he explains. At times, it was looking like it wasn't going to happen. And then it finally did receive the inclusion and then COVID hit. So there's a lot there's a lot of emotion in it."
Hawk, arguably the sport's first superstar, says of skateboarding, "It was never on the radar, it was always considered this sort of outcast activity and it grew in popularity as kids came to embrace it, [and] it will now be recognized on this international scale. And I just think it's exciting. And I think it's about time!"
Tony adds, "It's exciting, especially for the new generation of skaters who now will grow up with the notion that they could be Olympians from the get-go, and that's not something I ever imagined through my youth and not even through my 20s or even 30s."
Masekela predicts the new additions will catch on with fans of The Games, noting, "I think it'll be no different than what we're used to seeing with gymnastics, with ice skating -- subjective sports that are about personal expression and technique -- and the audience...after...watching more and more runs and routines, getting a feel for what the high level of performance looks like."
Sal adds, "That's what's so exciting about this, is that they're going to get educated and become fans. You know, the Olympic stage, viewing a new sport and getting engaged with it and learning about its culture and its history, and its characters, and what it takes to perform, you know, from that point forward."